Virginia Bluefin Tuna Record Broken Again

jakeOn April 2nd, Robert Smith on the boat “Bella Donna” captained by David O’Halloran landed a bluefin tuna weighing 576 pounds, good enough to break the existing Virginia state record.

Today Captain Jake Hiles running the boat “Ate Up” with crewmembers David Toombs, Phil Casone, Charles Dawson and Chase Robinson on board landed another whopper!

After a five hour fight, Chase Robinson completed reeling in the monster. The tuna weighed 606 pounds, eclipsing the state record for the second time in just a few days.

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Potential VA State Record Bluefin Tuna


VSWFT Committee member, Craig Paige began the certification process for a potential record bluefin tuna that was brought into Rudee Inlet this evening. The fish had a fork length of 102 inches and weighed in at 576.5 pounds. The current record is 573 pounds. The angler was Robert Smith. Speaking with Craig, he said that so far, everything looks good with the catch. The record application will now go to VSWFT Director, Lewis Gillingham’s office to continue the state record verification process. You can contact the Tournament Office with any enquiries about this potential record catch:

Lewis S. Gillingham, Virginia Saltwater Fishing Tournament, 2600 Washington Avenue, Third

Floor, Newport News, VA 23607, (757) 491-5160, or

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North Carolina certifies new skipjack tuna record

MOREHEAD CITY – The N.C. Division of Marine Fisheries has certified a new skipjack tuna state record.

skippyMatthew Charles Kelly of Chesapeake, Va., reeled in the 32-pound fish Aug. 31 while fishing in the Gulf Stream south of Hatteras Inlet.

The previous state record skipjack tuna weighed 22 pounds, 3 ounces, and was caught off Wrightsville Beach in 1979. The world record skipjack tuna weighed 45 pounds, 4 ounces and was caught off Baja California, Mexico in 1996.

The fish was caught on a GLoomis Pelagic Series rod with a Shimano Torsa 30 reel using a Zuker Feather Lure on 30-pound test line. It measured 34 inches from the tip of the nose to the tip of the fork in the tail and had a 24-inch girth.

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New NC State Record Jack Crevalle


MOREHEAD CITY – The N.C. Division of Marine Fisheries has certified a new state record jack crevalle, a fish commonly caught on ocean reefs.

Frank Dalli of Wake Forest reeled in the 49-pound, 1.6-ounce fish April 2 at the Gulf Stream ledge, 65 miles off Wrightsville Beach. It measured 43 inches fork length and had a 30-inch girth.

Dalli’s catch tops the former state record of 47 pounds, caught in 1989 off Cape Hatteras. The world record jack crevalle weighed 66 pounds, 2 ounces, and was caught in 2010 in Angola.

Dalli caught the fish on a 6-foot Shimano Trevala rod with a Penn 7500 Spinfisher reel using a gold butterfly jig and 6516 braid test line. He was fishing on a boat captained by Michael Jackson of Live Line Charters, Wilmington.

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New Local IGFA World Record Blueline Tilefish

Angler: David Cohn, Virginia Beach


The International Game Fish Association recently approved the 20-pound, 8-ounce Blueline Tilefish submitted by David Cohen of Virginia Beach as a new All-Tackle World Record. The Blueline Tilefish was caught in July while fishing along the 50-fathom curve at the Norfolk Canyon aboard a Kencraft Challenger, skippered by Jack Reynolds. David was using a standard two-hook rig baited with squid and mackerel for his first drop of the day, when the fish “hit like any other (fish)”. David stated that he knew the bend of the rod indicated he “had a good one.” The short 7-minute battle consisting of occasional runs and tell-tale head shakes resulted in what David referred to as a fine specimen. But there was no time to linger to consider the significance of the catch just yet, as David’s crew wastes no time while in prime fishing territory. So the record fish joined the bounty in the fish-box for the time being.

David contacted me after assessing the size of his tilefish, so I met him at the weigh station to assist him with his outstanding catch. After weighing the fish and taking several measurements and photos, we moved forward with applying for IGFA world record status.

Congratulations the angler and captain on the catch of a lifetime!

Dr. Julie Ball
IGFA Representative, Virginia Beach

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VA State Record Bigeye Tuna Bested


A 311-pound bigeye tuna, caught on September 25th by Vic Gaspeny, of Tavernier, FL, has been certified as the new Virginia State Record by the Virginia Saltwater Fishing Tournament. Gaspeny’s catch surpasses the existing record of 285 pounds and 12 ounces, caught 10 years earlier in August 2003 by Melvin Bray of Dumfries, VA.

Gaspeny made his record-setting catch off Virginia Beach, at the Norfolk Canyon, while fishing with Captain Justin Wilson aboard the charter vessel Just Right. Gaspeny, a well respected light tackle fishing guide and outdoor writer, operates out of Bud N’ Mary’s Marina in Islamorada, FL, where he is best known for his ability to put clients on tarpon. Gaspeny also helped pioneer “day dropping” for swordfish off the Florida coast and in the process caught his 200th swordfish last July.

Gaspeny spent many of his early years in Tidewater, graduated from Cox High School and Old Dominion University and returns each year for a month-long fishing vacation to visit family and friends. It was a group of friends that left the dock early Wednesday, September 25, loaded with a full tank of fuel and 800 pounds of ice aboard Justin Wilson’s custom-rigged 34-foot Judge. Plan A was to day-drop for swordfish but it has been an off the chart year for Citation-sized bigeye tuna, arguably the best ever. So when the group received a call that a hot daybreak bite of bigeye tuna was going on the temptation was too great to resist. After arriving lines had hardly been set when all six went off and mayhem ensued. Two 50-pound class yellowfin were rather quickly landed but the other four fish appeared much bigger. One of those four fish came unbuttoned but the other three, all 200-pound class bigeye tuna, were landed. With over 600 pounds of tuna onboard the group decided it was time to move on to day-dropping for swordfish. The swordfish proved more elusive and, as the early morning adrenaline rush provided by the tuna ebbed, radio talk indicated the bigeye tuna bite was heating back up. The decision was made to pull up the deepbaits, reset the rods for trolling and return to the area where the tuna were caught earlier in the day.

It was nearly sunset when the huge bigeye hit a trolled ballyhoo rigged on a blue and white skirt attached to a heavy leader. Gaspeny was using a custom built J&B rod mated to a 50W Shimano TLD reel and loaded with 80-pound test Suffix monofilament line. He quickly donned a fighting harness and settled in for an extended battle. The tuna was finally gaffed boatside at 9:15 PM. There was a brief discussion among the captain and crew whether to stay and fish through the night for swordfish. “Reality set in,” according to Captain Wilson, “we were out of space and ice,” so the group headed in. It was a little before midnight as the Just Right pulled up to the docks at Long Bay Pointe Marina. The official weight of the bigeye would not be determined until the next day but it appeared their fish would easily exceed the current state record for bigeye tuna of 285 pounds and 12 ounces. Thursday morning the group’s suspicion was confirmed by Virginia’s Saltwater Fishing Tournament Director Lewis Gillingham.

“With the phenomenal bigeye tuna fishery we had off the Virginia coast this year I would have been really disappointed if the bigeye state record had not been broken,” Gillingham said. Rumors of fish over the existing state record had circulated but, for one reason or another, they were never submitted for state record consideration. Anglers fishing with Captain Wilson aboard the Just Right weighed a bigeye of nearly 300 pounds earlier in the month but it was not submitted for consideration because more than one angler fought the fish during the 4-1/2 hour battle.

The 311-pound record-setting bigeye tuna measured 79-1/2 inches in total length, 71-1/2 inches straight line fork length and sported an impressive 57-inch girth. The tuna was weighed and registered at Long Bay Pointe Marina. The prior state record of 285 pounds and 12 ounces was also caught off Virginia Beach, at the Norfolk Canyon, by Melvin Bray of Dumfries, VA on August 11, 2003.

For more information, contact Lewis S. Gillingham, Virginia Saltwater Fishing Tournament, 2600 Washington Avenue Third Floor; Newport News, VA, 23607, (757) 491-5160,

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Virginia State Record Swordfish Official

State Record Swordfish Shattered

A 446-pound swordfish, caught on September 1, 2012 by Joseph T. Harris, of Virginia Beach, VA, has been certified as the new Virginia State Record by the Virginia Saltwater Fishing Tournament. Harris’ catch surpassed the existing record of 381-1/2 pounds, caught over 30 years earlier, by James Alexander of Virginia Beach.

Harris made his record-setting catch off Virginia Beach and south of the Norfolk Canyon, while fishing with Captain Justin Wilson aboard the Lynnhaven Inlet based 34-foot charter vessel Just Right. The huge swordfish hit a drifted whole squid. Harris was using a custom built 50-pound class stand-up rod mated to a Shimano TLD 50 reel and loaded with 50-pound test Ande monofilament line. Virginia Saltwater Fishing Tournament State Record Committee member Ken Neill, III, of Seaford, verified weight, length, and girth measurements and positively identified the swordfish, in accordance with the Tournament’s State Record procedures, and completed the State Record Application.

The crew consisted of a group of friends and did not depart Lynnhaven until nearly 8 PM and began deploying deep baits for swordfish about 11 PM. The first strike came shortly but the catch was an estimated 10-foot tiger shark and was released. Next was a 46-inch swordfish pup that was released by the youngest member of the crew. The record setting fish hit about 2:30 AM and came to the boat quickly, as the crew was able to actually touch the leader in about ten minutes after the initial hook-up. The fish then sounded and the next 2-1/2 hours produced a see-saw battle. Once the fish was finally at boat side, and the group fully appreciated the size of their prize, several gaffs were deployed to insure the swordfish could be controlled and pulled through the tuna door.

The group had planned to take advantage of the red hot white marlin bite and troll at daybreak, but with the 12-1/2 foot long swordfish occupying nearly the 34-foot boat’s entire cockpit, they elected to return once all the gear was stowed away.

Inside Rudee Inlet at the Virginia Beach Fishing Center the swordfish would weigh an incredible 446 pounds and boast a lower jaw fork length of 98 inches with an overall length of 152 ½ inches. The prior state record of 381 1/2 pounds was caught off Virginia Beach at the Norfolk Canyon, by James Alexander of Virginia Beach on October 11, 1978.

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NC State Record Gag Grouper, Queen Trigger Caught

MOREHEAD CITY – The N.C. Division of Marine Fisheries officially certified two state record fish catches Friday.

A Jacksonville man broke the state queen trigger fish record with a 10 pound, 11 ounce fish caught July 3, and a Newport man established the state gag grouper record with a 43 pound, 8 ounce fish caught May 12.

Benjamin Peterson of Jacksonville caught the queen trigger 55 miles out New River Inlet using squid as bait on a Shimano Trevela rod and Shimano Sarasota 18000 reel with Power Pro 65 pound test braided fishing line. It measured 23.5 inches fork length (tip of the nose to fork in the tail) and had a 22-inch girth.

Peterson’s queen trigger replaces the previous state record of 10 pounds, 5 ounces, set in 2011. The world record queen trigger was 14 pounds, 3 ounces, when it was caught in Mexico in 2009.

David Abernathy of Newport established the state record for gag grouper with a 43 pound, 8 ounce fish caught off Morehead City using a Roscoe jig on a Shimano Saragosa reel and Star Spinning rod with a 65-pound test fishing line. It measured 45 inches total length (tip of the nose to tip of the tail) and had a 31.5-inch girth.

North Carolina previously did not have a state record gag grouper. To establish a state record fish, the angler must submit an application that is then reviewed by N.C. Division of Marine Fisheries staff and a N.C. Saltwater Fishing Tournament Advisory Board. The fish must be exceptionally large for North Carolina waters and within a reasonable range of the world record.

The world record gag grouper was 80 pounds, 6 ounces, caught off of Florida in 1993.

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Virginia Pending Record Wahoo 122.1 Pounds

Susan Nelson, Whiteford, MD


by Bill Hall

Wachapreague VA – On June 23, 2012, Susan Nelson, of Whiteford, MD boated a 122 pound, 1 ounce wahoo while fishing with Capt. Keith Neal aboard the Wachapreague-based charter vessel, Teaser. The huge fish measured 80.25 inches in length with a whopping 33″ girth. The Teaser was a participant in the MSSA tournament and hooked the large fish while trolling for tuna off the Lumpy Bottom on a Joe Shute Lure and ballyhoo combination. Nelson landed the fish using a custom rod with a Shimano Tiagra reel loaded with 80# Mamoi Hi-Catch Diamond line, The lure/ballyhoo combination was rigged on a 130 mono leader with a Mustad hook. The fish was positively identified by VSFT State Record Committee member Bill Hall, in accordance with VSFT State Record procedures. Hall also completed the State Record Application.

According To Capt. Neal, the wahoo hit the bait as it was fished from the longrigger and made a blistering run. The fish came up to the surface four times but did not jump causing the crew to think that it was foul hooked a blue marlin. The fifth time that the fish surfaced during the 45-minute fight, the crew saw the telltale stripes and initially thought striped marlin but knew that they were not native to the Atlantic Ocean, then they realized that it was monster wahoo hooked on a monofilament leader.

“We knew we had one shot at gaffing it with the mono leader,” Capt. Neal commented. “The fish came along side and the mate hit it with the gaff, but the gaff’s rubber handle pulled off. We put a second gaff in it and pulled it on board. I knew it was big and first estimated it around 90-pounds. When I pulled out the tape measurer and it stretched the tape to 80-inches, I knew we had a much bigger fish and called my wife as soon as we got close enough to shore to get a cell signal. When she looked up the existing state record, I knew we had a shot at beating it.”

The fish was weighed in on scales certified in April of 2012 at the Wachapreague Marina.

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25 Year Old State Record Tautog Broken

A 24-pound, 3-ounce tautog, caught on March 25th by Ken Neill III of Seaford, VA, has been certified as the new Virginia State Record by the Virginia Saltwater Fishing Tournament. Neill’s catch surpassed the long standing record of 24 pounds, caught by Gregory Bell in 1987.

Neill made the record-setting catch at the Morgan wreck, which is one of the vessels contained within the footprint of the popular Triangle Reef site and located slightly over 30 nautical miles off Cape Henry. Neill, a dentist by trade, was fishing solo aboard his private boat the Healthy Grin. “I fished the day before with my regular crew of Peninsula Angler Club members and caught my biggest tautog ever, a 15-pounder. Sunday I had several other friends set to meet at the boat at 6 AM and planned to return to the same wreck,” said Neill. When the crew failed to materialize by 6 AM, Neill realized neither party had the other’s cell phone number. After a long 15 minute wait, lines were cast off and the Healthy Grin slowly motored out of Rudee. The wreck site from the day before was a relatively small structure and located well south of Rudee Inlet. Without any help to deploy, set and retrieve the anchor on the heavy 305 Express Albemarle, plans changed. “The Morgan is a large wreck and much easier to set anchor,” noted Neill. One can only speculate what the day would have been had the crew arrived on time but Neill, being a active participant in Virginia’s Volunteer Angler Gamefish Tagging Program who specializes in catching, tagging and releasing tautog knows one thing for certain from all the tag returns he has received over the years, “I never would have come close to that tog on Sunday.”

The tautog bite Sunday on the Morgan was much slower than the prior day on the southern hang and the first two hours produced only two tautog. Both were tagged and released. Sea bass were far more numerous at the Morgan, some were very good-sized but all were released because the season was closed. In an effort to detour at least some of the sea bass Neill baited up with a whole quarter of a blue crab. To fish a different area, and rather than weigh anchor and then reset the anchor, Neill opted to cast a short distance from the boat. Shortly afterward the big tog was hooked. “I knew this was a good fish right away. It was a really hard fight to keep it out of the wreck,” said Neill. But it was not until the fish was in the landing net and brought aboard that the true proportions of the fish could be realized. “I stopped fishing right then. I managed to set the camera up and take a couple of pictures and then I ran in to have it weighed.” The record tautog was caught on a St. Croix rod, mated to a Shimano Torium 16, spooled with 50-pound PowerPro Braid. A short mono leader and simple one hook mono bottom rig baited with fresh blue crab completed the outfit.

Tournament Director Lewis Gillingham conducted the official State Record weigh-in at the main office of the Virginia Marine Resources Commission in Newport News, although the initial Citation application was completed at Inlet Station Marina earlier in the day. The huge tautog weighed 24.22 pounds on the agency’s digital scale. For State Record recognition, weight is rounded down to the last full ounce, yielding an official weight of 24 pounds, 3 ounces. A mold and mount from the record setting tautog is being prepared. When this process is completed, Neill has donated the fish to the VMRC Biological Sampling Program. The sex will be determined through a necropsy and the otilith and opercula bones will be removed from the fish and taken to Old Dominion University’s CQFE Ageing Lab where age will be determined. The CQFE Ageing Lab has been examing tautog since 1999. To date the two heaviest tautog, both female, were determined to be 12 years (22-pounds and 9-ounces) and 17 years (21-pounds 13-ounces). Likewise the two oldest tautog were female at 23 years (11.49 pounds) and 22 years (at 12.99 pounds). So it will be interesting to learn how information from the new State Record fish, at over 2 pounds heavier and over an inch longer than any prior tautog sampled, fits the existing pattern. The shape of the head suggests the fish is female.

The 24-pound, 3-ounce record-setting tautog measured 32 inches in length and had a girth of 26-3/4 inches. The prior state record of 24 pounds was caught in the Atlantic Ocean off Wachapreague on a section of the Powell Wreck, by Gregory Bell on August 25, 1987. Subsequently, Bell’s tautog was accepted by the International Game Fish Association (IGFA) as the All-Tackle World Record. Bell’s IGFA record stood for over 10 years, until a 25-pound tautog was landed off Ocean City, NJ on January 20, 1998 by Anthony Monica.

For more information, contact Lewis S. Gillingham, Virginia Saltwater Fishing Tournament, 2600 Washington Avenue Third Floor; Newport News, VA, 23607, (757) 491-5160

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Virginia State Striped Bass Record Shattered

Virginia Saltwater Fishing Tournament

A 74-pound striped bass, caught on January 20th by Cary Wolfe of Bristow, VA, has been certified as the new Virginia State Record by the Virginia Saltwater Fishing Tournament. Wolfe’s catch surpassed the existing record of 73 pounds, caught nearly four years ago to the day by Fred Barnes of Chesapeake.

Wolfe made the record-setting catch in the Atlantic Ocean off Cape Henry, where they were but one of an estimated 100-boat flotilla while fishing with Captain Tim Cannon aboard the charter boat Bada Bing. The trophy striper hit a trolled tandem parachute rig, consisting of a pair of 2-ounce big-mouthed nylon skirted jigs, paired with 9-inch rubber shad bodies and trolled from a custom rod mated to a Penn 114H, spooled with 80-pound Ande monofilament line. When the fish hit, Wolfe pulled the rod from its holder and began reeling after the striper made an initial but brief run. After an uneventful 15 minutes, the fish broke water near the back of the boat, where the captain realized the fish was likely too large for the net. Wolfe was instructed to lead the fish head first into the net. As the angler strained the 80-pound mono to lead the fish the mono snapped and the hook fell from the fish’s lip. Momentum carried the fish across the waiting landing net, where the fish rested briefly. A flick of the tail and the fish would be gone but the huge striper relaxed. Its head slumped into the net and was hauled into the boat by Wolfe and Captain Cannon. Several pictures were immediately taken and the group figured the fish was at least 50 pounds.

Tournament Director Lewis Gillingham viewed the official weigh-in at Long Bay Pointe Marina by its weighmaster Connie Barbour. “The fish seemed very long for its girth, with a large head and not much in its stomach. Captain Cannon indicated the fish had spit-up several medium-sized eels after it was brought onboard,” noted Gillingham. The trophy striper was hustled to the Richmond Boat Show later Friday evening, where it was on display through Sunday. Wolfe, an X-ray technician employed at Manassas Hospital, also allowed the removal of the big striper’s otilith (ear bone) after the display by a member of the VMRC biological sampling program so its age could be determined. At the time the otilith was removed it was determined the fish was a female with a reasonably large egg mass but its gut was empty.

The record striper’s otilith was taken to Old Dominion University’s CQFE Ageing lab where it was determined the fish was 26 years old, making it a member of the 1986 year class. The 26 year old fish ties as the oldest otilith aged striped bass. The other fish, taken in 2011, weighed 61 pounds and was a member of the 1985 year class. Interestingly, the outgoing state record striper, was determined to be 22 years old but that was in 2008, making it a colleague of the new record fish as another member of the 1986 year class.

The 74-pound, record-setting striper measured 56-3/4 inches in length and had a girth of 31-1/2 inches. The prior state record of 73 pounds was caught in the Atlantic Ocean about one-half mile north of the 4A buoy, which is located off Fishermen’s Island, by Frederick Barnes of Chesapeake on January 23, 2008.

For more information, contact Lewis S. Gillingham, Virginia Saltwater Fishing Tournament, 2600 Washington Avenue Third Floor; Newport News, VA, 23607, (757) 491-5160,

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The ‘Angler’ Stuck Gold; Rudee Angler Deep Dropping Report

By Dr. Julie Ball, IGFA Representative, Virginia Beach

Rudee Inlet, Virginia Beach, VA – All I can say is…AMAZING! Or, to quote the words of Captain Skip Feller, it was a “pretty epic trip!” I grinned as he told me this on the evening of October 23rd, and he wasn’t kidding.

Golden tilefish for all, and then some! And not just plenty of goldens, big ones…even record sized! If that’s not enough, how about a few grouper, blueline tilefish, tuna, and even a swordfish to boot? All from the decks of a head boat!

Seldom does a trip like this come along. The crew of four, guided by Captain Mark Sterling and Skip Feller, aboard the ‘Rudee Angler’ out of the Virginia Beach Fishing Center, Rudee Inlet, Virginia made it happen.

According to Skip, the magic transpired while exploring the southern edges of the Norfolk Canyon in 300 to 800 feet of water. Pulling fish from these abysmal depths is no easy feat, but imagine hoisting these hefty bottom fish uphill for 20 minutes each round, for nearly 26 hours? Well, watch what you wish for. The Rudee Angler backed into her slip after a 36-hour journey with 25 weary, but content anglers toting coolers busting at the seams. The only thing bigger than their fish were their egos, as anglers and the crew bragged and told fish stories.

It all started Saturday morning as the ‘Angler’ headed out in manageable NE winds. After a four-hour ride, the crew began the day deep dropping in shallower water taking in their fill of nice grouper and blueline tilefish. The boat moved to the Norfolk Canyon as the sun set to set up for swordfish. During the night-time hours, anglers didn’t get much rest. Four rods went down, with a 25-pound yellowfin tuna, two big sharks, and a small swordfish to keep them busy. Not a bad night.

At first light, the boat headed for deeper water looking for golden tilefish and black bellied rosefish. As rosefish took up most available hooks, several lucky anglers struck gold. Anglers filled the deck with golden tilefish, one of the best-eating fish of the deep. Ten big goldens had everyone onboard excited. But no one was prepared for the golden egg; a true trophy golden tilefish pushing the scale to a staggering 69-pounds. This huge fish weighed almost five pounds heavier than the existing All Tackle record. The fact that the fish was caught on an electric reel, waving any chances at a world record, didn’t seem to dampen any spirits. Wide eyes and lots of “oohs and ahhs,” will have the fish tales will buzzing along the docks for weeks to come. Congratulations to the crew and the angler Dung Nguyen of Chantilly, Virginia.

Yes Skip, I agree. It was a pretty epic trip.

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Pending World Records Emerge from the Calm before the Storm

By Dr. Julie Ball

Hurricane Irene was on her way. There was nothing we could do about that…except go fishing! Landfall was expected Saturday night in Virginia, and Friday morning was gorgeous. Since our trip had been postponed from the weekend before, we were determined to get in some cobia action before it was too late. For some reason, we couldn’t find anyone else to go?

I met Captain Ben Shepherd at Lynnhaven Inlet in Virginia Beach at around 8am. On Ben’s boat “Above Average”, we headed toward the Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel. The water was slick, and we maybe saw five boats all morning.

We were sight casting for cobia. So I followed Ben up into the tower and started scanning the water. We began to worry a little after not seeing any fish for a good 30-minutes. Ben spotted the first fish, which appeared to be about 50-pounds. Ben swung the boat around while I climbed out of the tower. The fish just hovered by the piling, awaiting my eel. It wasn’t a bad cast, and the fish darted at the bait. I was thinking this is too easy. Next thing I know the cobia turned, and made a hard dash between the pilings and kept going! Uh oh, now what? Ben wasn’t fazed. I loosened the drag and stood on the bow. Ben maneuvered the boat between the pilings while I watched in amazement. Are you kidding me? That was awesome! Not even a bump. We caught up with the fish, and Ben said “Ok, you can fight your fish now.”

Ben netted my cobia. It was a nice fish, so we photographed and measured it for a potential Release Record. That was easier said than done with a peeved cobia! Of course these fish have plenty of attitude and pack a powerful punch. Poor Ben was gentle as he tried to hold the fish still for the length photos, but it had other ideas! We released the fish, and we swore we wouldn’t do that again!

We saw a several fish here and there, mostly smaller, and a few that wouldn’t eat. I never saw the next one until we had passed it. Ben swung around and made two casts before I could get down. He hooked up the cobia and turned the fish so that it followed the boat into safe territory as we drifted into the Bay. He grinned and said, “This is a good fish!” I asked if had caught a citation this year. He said he hadn’t caught one in a long time. So I told him “Go ahead, it’s all you!” I dug for my camera, and Ben slipped down from the tower. I had fun watching Ben run around the boat several times while the cobia proceeded to put a whoopin’ on him.

Ben asked if I was going to net his fish. Net it? I looked at the flounder net he had onboard and then looked at his 80-pound cobia. He saw my glance and said, “It’ll fit.” I must say that it was sorta like playing golf to get that fish’s head into that little net. He did fit, well mostly. Ben helped me pull the net over the side. It was a big fish, about 59-inches. Ben said, let’s measure it for a record. What? That fish is bigger than mine; I thought we weren’t doing that again? Oh well, it WAS bigger. Ok, let’s do it. This time the procedure went much smoother. We had the routine down, and the fish was more cooperative. Another potential record, done.

Ok, let’s catch one more. We cruised for maybe five more minutes, and then we spotted a pair circling a set of pilings. One fish was much larger than the other. Ben set the boat up, but they swam to the other side. Ok, so Ben moved around to the other side of the pilings, and they moved back to the other side. This is going to be fun, I thought. I asked, “Are they still there?” Ben nodded and pointed at the fish. Here goes. My eel began to sink, and I was thinking I was going to need to recast. But then the line came tight, and we were in business. The fish didn’t really do much as Ben backed out from the bridge so I thought it might be the smaller one. That thought didn’t last long. After one good tug on my end, the fish took a dive to the bottom as my drag screamed. I think I’m gonna need my belt.

A boat pulled up to watch as my skills were tested by a big cobia that was not in the mood. Ben said, “That’s a big fish, it’s probably close to 90-pounds!” After several laps, and a few recoveries, the fish began to show signs of slowing up. Ben held up the net in anticipation. The guy in the other boat yelled over, “You want a bigger net?” Of course Ben says “No thanks, it’ll fit.” Great. Maybe it would fit, but the fish wanted no part of the net. Its huge head went in, but not the rest of it! No problem, Ben just reached over and grabbed its tail too, and hoisted my 90-pound cobia into the boat while I gasped wide-eyed! We high-fived, and then sprang into action. Now we were cobia handling pros. Photos, measurements, revived, and released in record time! The fish stretched to 61.5-inches. Now we can go in.

What an exciting, awesome day!

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Brandon Drewry Lands Small-Fry World Record Cobia

Virginia Cobia Record Brandon Drewry

Brandon Drewry

Grafton VA – VBSF wishs 7 year old Brandon Drewry a big congratulation on landing a New Pending World Record Cobia. Brandon landed the fish while fishing on the Chesapeake Bay last weekend.

Dr Ken Neill was called to Grafton Fishing Supply to verify the catch. At 79-pounds Brandon’s cobia catch beats the current Small-Fry World Record by a half pound. The current record holder, Ken Braddy, was there to help weigh the fish.

The paper work is being filled out for a new record application which should result in a new world record cobia.

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North Carolina State Record Queen Trigger Fish

North Carolina State Record Trigger Fish

Fish Certified by N.C. Division of Marine Fisheries staff and a N.C. Saltwater Fishing Tournament Advisory Board

MOREHEAD CITY – A Piedmont North Carolina man reeled in a state record queen triggerfish during a recent fishing trip off Wrightsville Beach.

William Timothy Cox of Greensboro caught the 10-pound, 5-ounce fish May 22 at Same Ole Hole, located about 40 miles off Wrightsville Beach. The fish measured 30 inches from the tip of the nose to the tip of the tail and had a 23-inch girth.

He was fishing on a private vessel and caught the fish using cut bait on 80-pound line test with a Billfisher Rod and Penn 11414 reel.

This establishes a new state record queen triggerfish; no prior state record existed. To establish a new state record, the fish must be within reasonable range of the world record and exceptionally large for North Carolina, as determined by N.C. Division of Marine Fisheries staff and a N.C. Saltwater Fishing Tournament Advisory Board.

The world record queen triggerfish was 14-pounds, 3 ounces, caught off Cancun, Mexico in 2009.




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